May 23, 2024
McHenry County | Northwest Herald


Former Crystal Lake city councilman Ralph Dawson dies Thursday

Those looking would be hard-pressed to find someone who loved the city of Crystal Lake more than former councilman Ralph Dawson, Mayor Aaron Shepley says.

"Ralph was a spectacular human being to have on (the) council," Shepley said.

Dawson died on Thursday at the age of 90, the city said in a news release issued Thursday afternoon.

Calling Dawson a "man of the people," Shepley said he was very thoughtful about how those living in the area might be affected by any given project brought before the City Council.

"That always came through in everything that he did," Shepley said.

Dawson retired from the city council on Jan. 21 after serving as an alderman for almost 21 years, the city stated in the release. His cause of death was not released by city officials on Thursday.

Dawson was involved in city government for many of Crystal Lake's biggest projects. City officials said he was an "integral part" of the renovation and construction of the municipal complex, and the development of Three Oaks Recreation Area.

Because Dawson was retired during his tenure with the City Council, he was able to be out and about when the city did projects like this, Shepley said.

Because was a retired carpenter and contractor, Shepley said "he knew the trades, he knew the workers."

Dawson also served on the Economic Development Committee from 1997 until his election to the City Council in 1999.

He graduated from Crystal Lake Community High School, before it was divided into Crystal Lake South and Crystal Lake Central.

"(He) truly cared about Crystal Lake and its residents, and worked tirelessly to serve the community," city officials stated in the release. "As a City Council member, he strived to help Crystal Lake keep moving forward in a fiscally responsible manner, attracting and retaining business, industry and commercial development."

Shepley said every City Council members, and all those who knew Dawson, are "deeply saddened" by his death.

"We were a team for 21 years," Shepley said.

Other than his wife and family, of most importance for Dawson was his service to the city and council, Shepley said.

"He had the most admirable qualities that you could ever ask for," Shepley said, adding that Dawson was very humble.

Though none of his fellow council members related to Dawson, Shepley said his death is "no different" than that of a family member's.

"Certainly our love and support goes out to his wife of so many years, his entire family," Shepley said. "I loved Ralph. He was a very good person."